Candidate views on building aquatic center in Page

By Bob Hembree
Posted 6/26/24

The following excerpts are highlights of City Council candidate responses to building an aquatic center in Page. Comments were made at the June 4 and June 11 Page Lake Powell Chamber of Commerce City …

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Candidate views on building aquatic center in Page


The following excerpts are highlights of City Council candidate responses to building an aquatic center in Page. Comments were made at the June 4 and June 11 Page Lake Powell Chamber of Commerce City Council Candidate Debates. 

John Kocjan

“I think there's better places [money] can be spent, but I support the aquatic center. I think we need to consolidate. The splash pad was more of just a - they threw [it] out there when they couldn't have the pool. Now that we're gonna have both, we need to form an aquatic center and [they] need to be built together and around the same time and make it a true aquatic center. And we've acquired the Pera building that could be the temporary headquarters for that project, and that's where it should be located. But it should be a true aquatic center and not a splash pad here and a pool over there.

“Things like the aquatic center that would improve the quality of life, which is one thing that the city needs to make it a real city.”

Tom Preller

“We need a pool. The size and location need to be appropriate for Page. We can't build Six Flags or the aquatic Taj Mahal or whatever other ideas anyone has. It needs to be appropriate for both. What size we'll allow, what the budget will allow and what meets the needs of the city. It needs to be accessible to the townsfolk. It needs to be an asset that the whole community can use. We can't build it 3 miles away from the nearest house. It needs to be central somewhere so that the citizens can use it, kids can walk to it, PUSD and GCOA can have access to it for whatever they need to and any other stakeholders that fall in there. We want to make sure to work with PUSD and GCOA so that if they do decide that they want to use that pool, they can do things like form a swim team, which I hear we weren't able to do at Page High School because there was a surveying error and the pool was 3 inches too short or something along those lines.

“I want to make sure that future generations can swim in school, [and] can learn how to swim well.”

Craig Simmons

“I'm very much for a pool. My kids grew up in a pool here. Whenever it was there at the high school, we paid so much per month for them to be there five days a week. And it was a great thing. It helped parents out. People like Debi taught our kids how to swim. You know, it just worked. John [Kocjan] was talking about how we had all this money for doing all this other stuff. If we have all this money, then why do we have to bond the pool? I don't understand that. I just don't get where we have all this money to do all these other things. Why can't we spend some of that money on the pool?

“As far as building an aquatic center, I don't agree with the Taj Mahal of an aquatic center either. But let's build it in sections as this one pays for itself. Then we can do add-on to the basketball courts or add-on to the racquetball courts or whatever else they want to do.”

Amanda Hammond

“Quality of life is one of the primary functions of local government. We need to do that. We need to do it smartly. I think if you look at the city budget, what's been budgeted for parks and recreation for our city is reasonable, I think, compared to other priorities. When it comes to the pool, let me be very specific that I am all for the pool tonight.

“I do think it's important that we build that in a way that is right-sized for our community. This discussion has been pushed a lot around youth, and I agree with that. I have two young kids who I feel don't have a safe place to learn how to swim. Like many families, we put in extraordinary amounts of time and money to teach them to swim in other cities.

“It's totally unreasonable to me that we should have a community in a place where temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees and we can't safely recreate outdoors people of all ages. We can't safely teach our kids to swim in the lake. The lake claims twelve lives a year. Twelve of them. I don't want one of them to be my kid that I'm teaching to swim.

“An aquatic center needs to be for all ages. We've got elderly people, too, who are not gonna go on a jog or a bike ride at 100 degrees. We need an appropriate facility for them to get exercise as well. It's good for their physical and mental well-being.“

Debra Roundtree

“Well, aquatic centers add to communities, but they never pay for themselves. So we can say we shouldn't have a pool because it won't pay for itself.

“I believe huge expenditures like that belong to the citizens. That's indebted them to a lot of money. And I think that they should look at an aquatic center. Levi Tappan told me that we could use Horseshoe Bend monies for that. City Manager told me I couldn't. I've had someone else say, yes, we can use the monies for that. But I've been thinking, why don't we put the aquatic center out at Horseshoe Bend and then it can pay for it if it's out there and that's a big piece of property and then all the tourists can pay for it and we can have a really nice water park that citizens came to see the water park along with Page.”

[Former Mayor Levi Tappan, responding to Roundtree’s claims, told the Chronicle, “I don’t recall telling her that.”]


Rick Yanke

“I think the idea that council has at this point in time of raising the bed, board, and booze tax in order to pay for it is probably a good idea. It doesn't put a strain on the citizens of Page.

“They were quite expensive when the city was looking at a full complex that had basketball courts, racquetball courts, indoor-outdoor pool, basically the Taj Mahal Resort Center that everybody come down and instead of going to Disneyland or any of the water parks, come to Page and go to the Page Water Park.”


Tina Beckwith

“I was a lifeguard at the Manson Mesa swimming pool, which is where the senior center is now. So I feel passionate about a pool. I think that everyone should have an opportunity to learn to swim and learn water safety. We live by the lake. We should have this information available to our citizens.

“I think that we need to address this because the citizens deserve a place to have leisure enjoyment, and the kids deserve a place to be able to be safe and play. And I really am for a family friendly community. Now, having said that, I don't think we need [a] $116 million pool. I think we can cut back on numbers and make it a more reasonable number. Maybe I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I think that we can cut that back and not make it such a burden.”

Richard Leightner

“Splash pad is going in. It's something the citizens asked for. There's actually a pool committee that works with the city manager on this, and one of the members is sitting right out there, and they're carrying the voice of the neighborhood. And it's something that they said they needed. Brian Carey pushed hard on it, and I'm right on board with him as well as most of the other councilors. And we don't think that it's going to be a bad thing for Page. The splash pad, I think, is going to see groundbreaking this fall. If we're lucky, we'll see groundbreaking on the pool as well. But it is on the way. The Page pool, the infrastructure there at the high school, it's gone. It's rusted. It's about to fall apart. And we talked about clearing that and putting another pool back in there and [it] was decided with the school board that the funding just wasn't there for it. So, yeah, it's going in. It's something that we've wanted, something that we've been working on, and we're quite happy about it. It'll be down at the sports complex, and as long as we have water, we're good.”